A Fruitful fly forward: The role of the fly in drug discovery for neu- rodegeneration

Authors: Michelle Briffa, Neville Vassallo, Ruben J. Cauchi1

Corresponding: Michelle Briffa (michelle.briffa@um.edu.mt)

Keywords: Drosophila, fruit fly, drug discovery, neurodegeneration, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease

Doi: http://dx.medra.org/10.7423/XJENZA.2014.2.11

Issue: Xjenza Online Vol. 2 Iss. 2 - October 2014

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD) and Huntington's disease (HD) are increasing in prevalence and the need for novel disease-modifying therapies is critical. Identifying compounds that modify disease progression has been a struggle - mainly due to the insufficient knowledge regarding the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms of these diseases. Traditional high-throughput screening in vitro have previously identi ed positive hits. However, subsequent validation experiments in vivo, rendered them ineffective and/or toxic. Drosophila models of neurodegenerative disease can be e ectively exploited in drug screens for the identi cation of compounds and target disease mechanisms. This review sheds light on how Drosophila models of neurodegeneration can aid the therapeutic discovery process through the use of chemical and genetic suppressor/enhancer screens and other existing techniques. Integrating Drosophila models of neurodegeneration to the drug discovery process holds great promise for the enhanced rate of therapeutic-modifying compound discovery.

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